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Why Is Lent 40 Days?

Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. 

Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is also a time of self-examination and reflection.

In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.

Common Questions

Why 40 Days?

The 40-day length of Lent is grounded in the Bible's usage of the number 40. In Scripture, the number 40 is often associated with times of trial, testing, penance, and purification. For example, the flood in the story of Noah lasted for 40 days and 40 nights.

What are the origins of the word "Lent?"

Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means “sprint.” The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring temptation and preparing to begin His ministry.

Is Lent about denying yourself?

For many, Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It began as a way for Catholics to remind themselves of the value of repentance. The austerity of the Lenten season was seen as similar to how people in the Old Testament fasted and repented in sackcloth and ashes. Today, some people focus on using Lent as a time for adding something to their lives - such as daily, sustained prayer - rather than focus solely on giving something up for the season.

Why is the color Purple used During Lent?

Purple is the symbolic color used in many churches throughout Lent.Purple is used for two reasons: firstly because it is associated with mourning and so anticipates the pain and suffering of the crucifixion, and secondly because purple is the color associated with royalty, and celebrates Christ's resurrection and sovereignty.

Lenten Resources

We have a variety of worship visuals – videos, PowerPoint templates, graphics, and items formatted for social media – to help you mark your Lenten journey. Many of them are available in both English and Spanish.

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Worship Ideas For Lent

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